Thursday, July 14, 2005

Free book reports on Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events!

Google search: "how to do book report on the reptile room, by lemony snicket using setting, conflict, theme, reco"

I suppose it was inevitable that I have one of these before long. It took a while because apparently I am not reading enough books that everybody else likes, or that students need to do book reports on.

I don't think there is much of a theme to the Lemony Snicket books, really, unless "adults don't listen to adorable children" or "a word which here means" are themes. They ratchet up all this tension, but it doesn't go to deep places emotionally, it is like a mini-action movie, no matter how wittily displayed (and there are some really funny moments). Count Olaf should wear a black hat to complete the trope. There are all these episodes, and then, like at the end of that Simpsons episode, "[sigh of relief] The status quo." There's just no there there.

Contrast this with fellow shelf-space conqueror Harry Potter, where people are actually growing and changing, where the whole world is rumbling and alive, where hatred, fear, destiny, and wonder come in equal parts.

So if you found this post looking for an easy essay, let me give you some advice: there are a lot of books that get made into movies that are inferior to the written words. If we ever have 3D holographic projectors and actors willing to make hundred-hour transcriptions of fantasy novels, the movies still won't be as good as the books. If you have to choose, read Harry Potter over Lemony Snicket. And try not to let school get you down on books. Find some you really like; you will still like them long after you stop enjoying Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Pokemon. Most days there's nothing on TV, but there will always be another great book to read, until the sun dies or the human race is extinct.

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